Perfect poisons for pollinators – available from your local garden centre

I wrote about this last year when I first read the report. It is very sad that the RHS hasn’t done more to be sure that their ‘Pollinator Friendly’ label isn’t being used on plants that are probably lethal to bees

Philip Strange Science and Nature Writing

We try to make our garden welcoming for bees by growing flowers that provide pollen and nectar throughout the season. We also have some unkempt areas they might want to nest in and we don’t use any pesticides. I enjoy watching the bees foraging on the flowers as they come in to bloom and currently a large cotoneaster bush is full of small bumblebees buzzing loudly as they feed in the sunshine. It’s been very exciting this year to see bumblebees and solitary bees nesting in the dry-stone walls around the garden.

When we need new plants or compost, there is one local garden centre we use. It has a good range of healthy-looking plants and a very nice tearoom! In early spring, it’s also an excellent place to watch one of my favourite bees, the hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes), whizzing about in the greenhouses full of flowers…

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14 thoughts on “Perfect poisons for pollinators – available from your local garden centre

  1. Christina in Spain at the Garden Centers there is no label “Friendly Pollinator” for plants. You trust the Garden Center that gives you the most confidence and the best plants you have. I’ve been going to one for quite a few years now in aromatic plants when there are few people you find bees by flowers eating. And those same plants I buy together with others and in the garden bees are for all of them. I think that should be all the Garden Centers. Luckily in my area do not put pesticides to the fields. The rest is mountain, to hunt. But the neighbor made herbicide and I can not prohibit it: it is his land. Although I would like to do it. Christina forgives for the talk but I like to defend bees and other insects from insecticides. And all the animals. Happy day. Greetings from Margarita.

    • Unfortunately Margarita many reputable garden centres don’t know what their supplier use and the promotion by the RHS with their label is encouraging people to think they are doing the right thing when in fact they may be causing more harm.

      • You’re absolutely right, Christina. Right now I have just signed a Greenpeace petition for the European Union not to give a 10-year extension to glisofato, an insecticide used in agriculture and according to the O.M.S. Is carcinogenic to people. This is how the world goes, money takes it. Greetings from Margarita.

        • Actually Margarita glisofato isn’t an insecticide it is a herbicide and I don’t think it has been proven yet that it contaminates the soil. It can be very useful in clearing weeds before starting a new border or garden. Not on food crops of course!!!!!!

          • Sorry Christina I wrote it wrong. It is glyphosate and is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s “Roundup” herbicide sold worldwide. Studies have been conducted in the USA and glyphosate appears in people’s urine, including in pregnant women. The European Union can not give a further 10 years of extension to this product. Do not put heat and rain. Greetings from Margarita.

    • Yes, and lots of casual gardeners, seeing the RHS label, would believe that they were doing just the right thing. I hope some of the national tv and radio programmes are going to highlight the problem; I reblogged the original because I think the more people who read about it the better.

  2. How depressing! As I understand the articles you link to, the EU bans the use of neonicotinoids on flowering crops… So does that mean the concern is with human, rather than pollinator, health? That makes no sense if the supposed purpose of a ban was to protect bees etc.
    It’s baffling and frustrating. Many people are aware of the dangers posed by pesticides to pollinators and sincerely want to do what they can to help. Looking for suppliers of organically grown plants who can guarantee pesticide-free stock right back through the supply chain is going to be complicated. I wonder about enterprises such as Kew/Wakehurst – they are surprisingly poor at promoting seeds of heritage varieties and – to my way of thinking – should be more proactive in developing responsible cultivation rather than running what seem to be purely commercial shops aimed at maximising income. That said, I do understand their government funding has been cut…

  3. I’m glad you brought this to the attention of your readers. It is such an important issue. Well done, let’s keep on hammering the message home.

  4. Thank you for posting this, except you are destroying my illusions about the EU being more environmentally advanced than the USA. An environmental group did a similar study here two years in a row, they did find that some of the big garden center chains had greatly reduced the use of neonicotinoids – though there was still a long way to go. They didn’t test for any other insecticides

  5. Hi Christina, I am late to reading your post and have followed your link to Phillip’s post.
    I do not know the cost of the license, but have to also wonder how much revenue is made on the plants with that label. I suspect its very big business, which is why the RHS have not withdrawn it.
    “To enquire about or purchase a license agreement for annual multiple use of RHS Perfect for Pollinators point-of-sale artwork please email”
    I haven’t been on wordpress for a long time but very glad to have read your post tonight and thank you for the link to Phillips post too.
    Best wishes, Julie

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